The glue

July 25, 2011

As you can deduct from my post about handlebar width, the real question should not be about bar width, but rather about the position of your arms. The two best pieces of advice I can give come courtesy of two great riders, both rather underestimated. In my story remembering Xavier Tondo, I talked about some riders being stars and some riders being the glue. These two guys are also the glue.

Aside from being great people to have “in the locker room”, I believe there is also something else about these types of athletes. They are observers. As students of human relations, they understand how to bring out the best of people. Oftentimes they keep the mood light when the pressure is on, sometimes they provide a much-needed kick in the butt, but always they have the betterment of the team in mind.

As observers, their study doesn’t stop with the human relations. Xavier and these two guys are also scolars of cycling technology, tactics and/or technique. You may have heard how Xavier worked in a bike shop for many years while he was a pro rider, because he loved the equipment (and he liked to help out a friend who owned the store).

As a result, these are the guys we can learn from. Never trust the advice of a supremely gifted athlete, for he has never had to study the game. Go to the one who always had to work his butt off, for you can be sure he has looked everywhere for the tiniest little edge to raise the game. You see the same in many other sports, the best football coaches were often mediocre players (Mourinho, Hiddink, etc) whereas the superstar players usually fail on the bench (Maradona, the entire Dutch national team of 1988 except for Frank de Boer).

Sorry, I got sidetracked. I’ll leave the two pointers for tomorrow.

One Response to “The glue”

  1. Right on the button! And yet you still have people say “He has no pedigree”. I have met people who are not cut from the classic mould of cyclist, but who love the technology, the process, the fashion, the limits they push and who can share what they know. People with passion are more often better teachers/mentors than those whose laser focus has taken them to success at whatever level.

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